Religious organizations cancel gatherings over COVID-19 outbreak

Update: 15:56 | 03/08/2020
Given the complicated developments following the latest COVID-19 outbreak in the central city of Da Nang, religious organizations nationwide have issued guidance on disease prevention and control, including the temporary halt of gatherings.
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At the 2019 La Vang Pilgrimage Festival in Quang Tri. (Photo: VNA)

On July 30, Most Venerable Thich Thien Nhon, Chairman of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) Executive Board, sent a document asking the VBS’s committees and institutes, municipal and provincial chapters, Buddhist training establishments, and Buddhist monks and nuns at temples and pagodas across the country to temporarily cancel religious events and ceremonies and training courses gathering a large number of people.

The board also requested all religious facilities to follow COVID-19 prevention and control measures like hand washing, wearing of facemasks, and health monitoring when necessary.

On July 27, the Archdiocese of Hue announced an indefinite postponement of the 32nd La Vang Pilgrimage Festival, which was previously scheduled for August 12 – 15 in the central province of Quang Tri. This is the first time the event has been postponed. The pilgrimage attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims nationwide every year.

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On July 31, Ho Chi Minh City’s Archdiocese announced a hiatus of pastoral activities and liturgical celebrations until further notice. During the period, all followers are exempted from attending the Sunday Mass, with daily prayers gathering less than 30 people and following distancing rule. As of August 1, holy ceremonies at cathedrals are broadcast online.

All churches and oratories have to carry out preventive measures guided by the Health Ministry.

On August 2, Bishop of Can Tho Diocese Tri Buu Thien announced a temporary halt of the Sunday Mass at all churches under the diocese until further notice. Meanwhile, the daily mass is allowed to be maintained, with the number of participants to be kept at under 30 and participants following disease preventive measures and physical distancing rule.

The diocese also canceled some doctrine and training classes that gather more than 30 people.

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(Source: VNA)